17 January 2007

Anorexic Models

Last month, the organizers of Milan's Fashion Week announced a new rule barring the hiring of any model who is under the age of 16 or has a BMI of less than 18, as a response to a number of anorexia-induced deaths of runway models in recent months. Since then, everyone in the fashion world has anxiously awaited the response of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and last week they finally issued their recommendations: "that models with eating disorders seek treatment, young models work limited hours, healthy food be supplied backstage and smoking and alcohol be banned."Ahhh...Do they seriously believe that "encouraging" treatment, making food more available and telling models they can't smoke or do drugs is going to change anything? These are not humans, they're MODELS, for goodness sake. They have the money and the connections to eat anywhere and anything they want, but they choose (Link) to subsist on cigarettes and cocaine (cough, Kate Moss, cough). I don't believe the fashion industry alone is the cause of unhealthy body image issues in young women, but they certainly continue to promote stick-thin bodies as the ideal.
And there are the replicated Hollywood actresses (think Kate Bosworth and Nicole Richie) who see their careers explode once they lose enough weight to wear couture clothes, prompting fashion magazines to feature them in pictorials, which helps them establish a reputation as a taste maker, which leads to bigger movie roles and the adoration of millions of young women. And then, even when they're drastically underweight, they're put on the covers of gossip rags, where all publicity is good publicity.
It's a sick cycle, and I do think that it all begins on the runways.A lot of designers and defenders of the status quo like to say that "clothes simply hang better on thin women." I think that there is some truth to that, but there's a difference between "thin" (such as a tall woman who's a size 4 or 6, and still has breasts and hips) and "skinny" (size 0 or 00, not an ounce of fat on her frame).
Hopefully the rounded figures of the fifties and sixties will come back to fashion and many young models will be safe from dying from starvation.

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